America's Promise Alliance and the ING Foundation today announced the call for submissions for this year's 100 Best Communities for Young People competition. The 100 Best program recognizes communities that are doing outstanding and innovative work to help reduce high school dropout rates and provide their youth with an outstanding place to live, learn and grow.
Community representatives are encouraged to download the application now to gather the resources and information needed to complete the application, which includes essays by local students. Completed applications are due May 27, 2011, and will be judged by a blue-ribbon panel of national youth development, nonprofit, policy and civic leaders. Additional information can be found at www.americaspromise.org/100best.
'We want communities of every size to apply, as there are so many innovative approaches to helping young people, and we want to shine a light on the best,' said Marguerite W. Kondracke, president and CEO of America's Promise Alliance. 'The size of your community or the scale of your initiatives aren't the deciding factors in the judging, it's the commitment and impact made that will elevate your community to be considered one of the 100 Best.'
The 100 Best celebrates extraordinary community-wide efforts to improve the well-being of youth. Earning the distinction cultivates local pride and showcases the people and programs that are building better communities. The competition also facilitates the sharing of best practices among communities across the country regarding education, access to health care, reading score improvement, youth service, pre-school enrollment and more.
Nationwide, 7,200 high school students drop out each school day, that's one student every 26 seconds totaling nearly 1.3 million young people a year. To help decrease these numbers, the Alliance and presenting sponsor the ING Foundation want to honor communities that are taking action to help students stay in school and graduate on time regardless of the community's population numbers, location or budget.
'The 100 Best is a remarkable program that recognizes and rewards a community's dedication to keeping children in school and preparing them for the future,' said Rhonda Mims, president of the ING Foundation and senior vice president of ING's Office of Corporate Responsibility and Multicultural Affairs. 'As part of our commitment to education, ING is proud to continue our partnership with America’s Promise Alliance and pay tribute to the communities that are making a real difference in young people's lives.'
The winning communities are intended to be the best representation of the nation as a whole. Each year, winning communities vary in size, location, demographics, resources and approaches to their unique challenges. Past winners ranged from small towns, such as a mobile home community in Minnesota; to counties and school districts; to some of the nation's largest cities, including New York City and Nashville.
First held in 2005, 100 Best is one of the Alliance's signature initiatives and a part of its Grad Nation Campaign, a 10-year effort to mobilize all Americans to take action to reduce the high school dropout rate. Last year, more than 350 communities from all 50 states and the District of Columbia were nominated for the honor.
About America's Promise Alliance
America's Promise Alliance is the nation's largest partnership organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth by raising awareness, supporting communities, and engaging in nonpartisan advocacy. Through our Grad Nation campaign, we harness the collective power of our partner network to mobilize Americans to end the high school dropout crisis and prepare young people for college and the 21st century workforce. Building on the legacy of our Founding Chairman General Colin Powell, the Alliance believes the success of our young people is grounded in the Five Promises - caring adults; safe places; a healthy start; an effective education; and opportunities to help others. For more information about America's Promise Alliance, visit www.americaspromise.org.
ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, investments, life insurance, and retirement services to over 85 million residential, corporate and institutional clients in more than 40 countries. With a diverse workforce of about 107,000 people, ING is dedicated to setting the standard in helping our clients manage their financial future.
In the U.S., the ING (NYSE: ING) family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, which includes life insurance, retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, direct banking, institutional investment management, annuities, employee benefits, and financial planning. ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves nearly 30 million customers across the nation.
ING's diversity management philosophy and commitment to workplace diversity, diversity marketing, corporate citizenship and supplier diversity fosters an inclusive environment for employees that supports a distinctive product and service experience for the financial services consumer. For more information, visit ing.us.
About the ING Foundation
The ING Foundation's mission is to improve the quality of life in communities where ING operates and its employees and customers live. Through charitable giving and employee volunteerism, the foundation focuses on programs in the areas of financial literacy, children's education, diversity, and environmental sustainability. For more information, visit www.ing-usafoundation.com or connect with us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/act2impact and Twitter @INGact2impact.